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Letters: week of Nov. 14

Excluding hymn disrespectful to soldiers, past and present Sir: My wife and I recently returned from a trip to Europe that included a visit to a Canadian War cemetery located near Holten, The Netherlands.
Letters to the editor

Excluding hymn disrespectful to soldiers, past and present

Sir: My wife and I recently returned from a trip to Europe that included a visit to a Canadian War cemetery located near Holten, The Netherlands.

The beauty of the cemetery, in terms of how well it was maintained, reflected the respect and thankfulness the Dutch people have for our fallen soldiers.

I understand that in The Netherlands, school children will take responsibility for caring for a Canadian soldier's grave. During our visit, I noted families of grandparents and young children respectfully viewing the tombstones.

Contrast that with the following. I have personal knowledge of a school board in Ontario (not a local board) that removed a 19th century hymn a school choir was preparing to sing for Remembrance Day.

Why? Because one parent of a choir member complained the hymn, which contained a message of peace, was too religious (i.e. Christian) to be sung.

I have attended Remembrance Day ceremonies for over 40 years, all of which included hymns and even prayers, of Christian as well as other faiths. To have a Remembrance Day ceremony and the thoughts of our soldiers, past and present, so dishonoured and disrespected by a single parent and a school board superintendent, utterly appalls me.

We are a country that talks about inclusion, but this decision speaks only of exclusion.

I don’t know what the other children were told about not being able to sing the hymn. Not having time to learn another song, they couldn’t participate as a choir. The voice of one parent was apparently more important than their inclusion in the ceremony.

I will attend this year’s Remembrance Day ceremony and reverently join others in singing hymns to honour the memory of the fallen, as well as those currently serving.

It was sad, in so many ways, that a school board wouldn’t show the same honour and respect, especially to the children excluded from honouring our soldiers with a chosen hymn.

Joe Chorostecki



Reader wants to warn others about fake gold scam

Sir: My wife and I went shopping recently and as I was putting the groceries in the trunk, a car pulled up with a man in the driver’s seat and a woman in the passenger seat.

The woman had rolled down her window and called me over.

She had a heavy accent and told me they were visiting from South America, and their credit card was being refused. They needed money to put gas in the car.

She handed me a handful of gold jewelry and told me it was 18k gold and would I please buy it from her so they could buy gas and groceries.

I suspected a scam from the start, because that much 18k gold would be worth more than $2,000. I also realized this ‘gold’ was too shiny to be genuine.

I handed the jewelry back to her and told her I hoped she hadn’t paid much for it, since it was obviously counterfeit.

I’m sharing this with your readers to warn them that, “If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.”

In retrospect, I wish I had taken down the car’s licence number. If this happens to you, I hope that with this advance warning, you can provide such information to police.

Peter Degraaf

Point Edward

The first mate and his Skipper too

Sir: Regarding Sheridan Glenn’s letter of Oct. 31, “Disappointed by the return of Prime Minister ‘Gilligan.’”

He should take his own advice and Google the episode in question. If he did, he would see that Gilligan is dressed as Napoleon under the direction of a Fidel Castro-like character who sets him up as the dictator of the island.

In one scene, the puppet master is literally manipulating Gilligan with strings.  To be honest, this reminds me more of the second place finisher in the recent election and the former Prime Minister working behind the scenes.

Cameron Elliott



More public input was needed on Centennial

Sir: I read with interest the Nov. 7 article, “Post Mortem: City looks to future while fixing ‘deficiencies’ in $13.5M Centennial Park project.”

I won't go into detail of what went wrong, but instead offer two suggestions that, in my opinion, would have prevented a lot of the deficiencies identified.

1.  The public was not given adequate input. The city should have issued a conceptual design and asked for public input. That would have caught the problems with the Suncor Agora design (facing the sun, no seating, lack of shade, protection from rain, etc.). A lot of talented professionals in the area would have loved to voice their opinion before their tax dollars were spent.

2.   In addition to having a project manager to oversee the design and implementation, the city should have formed a committee of existing and retired professionals to advise the mayor, council, and city engineers on proposed designs and remediation proposals. Sarnia has a wealth of retired industrial environmental engineers, project managers, design professionals etc. that would have donated their expertise and time to advise the city.

It is the job of the mayor and council to make informed decisions on what needs to be done. Unfortunately, a lot of the decisions were made based on limited information and public input.

Walter Frais



Board thanks departing Harmony for Youth executive director

Sir: It is with great sadness that the Board of Directors of Harmony for Youth received and accepted the resignation of Executive Director Teresa Ingles on Oct. 29.

The Board would like to thank Teresa for her dedication and hard work on behalf of the youth. Teresa was instrumental in assisting the Board in updating Harmony’s bylaws etc. to the standards coming into practice.

She led many of our efforts to recruit new teachers, mentors and sponsors, and for this we are truly grateful.

We wish Teresa success in all her future endeavours.

Bonita Ovens-Taylor

On behalf of the Board of Directors

Harmony for Youth


Kind person put lost cell in hands of the receiver

Sir: We sometimes forget to believe in people and what they are willing to do for us.

I have always trusted everyone, and though I got burned a few times, have found the best.

Recently, I somehow lost my cell phone. I don't use it very often but wanted to text a friend. I searched everywhere in our house but could not find it.

When the mail came, inside the mailbox was a small package, and inside the package was my cell phone and case.

Whoever returned — a friend or a new friend — I would like to thank them, and take them out for lunch or coffee. They spent time and money returning my cell.

It’s interesting that I wanted to use it, and couldn’t find it, and then it came back to me.

There are wonderful people around us. Whoever it was, thank you so much.

Margaret Banovsky Holmes



Please, do something to get rid of those fruit and veg stickers

Sir: Hi! I am a Grade 5 student. I want to share my concern here.

I am seeing stickers on fruits and vegetables, which I sometimes directly consume. Sometimes, even my mom forgets to peel off the stickers from fruits and vegetables.

My mom told me it’s not harmful, but when I peel off the sticker from an apple I notice a long, stringy kind of glue. Most of the time I forget to peel off the sticker.

My concern is, I saw most of the Kindergarten kids bring apples, pears, mangoes, tomatoes and so on, and they consume as it is, which is not good for their health.

Please, editor, do something and forward it to the concerned department.

Mugil Muruganandam



Federal election campaign in Sarnia-Lambton was a cut above

Sir: Your Oct. 31 article on the outcome of the recent federal election noted that the local candidates and campaign teams reflected a level of civility and focus on issues that far exceeded what was seen at the national level.

Your reference to their conduct, not just the winners and losers, shows the level of journalistic excellence provided to Sarnia-Lambton by The Journal.

Our community is to be commended for recognizing that democracy can succeed and flourish only when there is integrity at the core of our conduct, and that denigrating others will never replace the exchange of well-articulated ideas.

Democracy brought us the civility that enabled us to move from bullets to ballots. Over the next four years, let us all continue this admirable local example of moving away from the battlefield-mindset of political process, towards truly constructive communication and stronger democracy.

Our very survival depends upon it.

Bob Sutton


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